Gaited horse experts... Foxtrotter vs. tennesee walker


Lovin' the Lowriders!
11 Years
Sep 28, 2008
A friend of mine got a horse from a rescue out of state.... It was told to her to be a Missouri Fox Trotter.. the only experience I have had much with is the Tennessee Walker...

What differences can I tell about the breeds etc...

Do you "park" a FT? What kind of bit do you use on a FT?

I rode it and it didn't feel much different from a TW but I am thinking it was low in wieght and just getting back into service after a layoff.. that may have made a difference and that we were using a snaffle bit.

Does one use and elevator bit???

I would like much information on this breed by ppl who know..... I am a great guesser and I am up a stump here.
All gaited breeds can be ridden in a snaffle and seldom needs anything more.

I have issues with people putting harsh bits in a horses mouth just because it is "gaited".

I ride my TW in a Pelham, I currently have the reins attached to the mouth piece causing it to have a snaffle effect. But if my horse acts up (which he did a lot when I first got him) I can switch the reins to the shank (Pleham's have very short shanks relative to other shanked bits)


A bit of info about shanks and purchases (the loop above the bit that the bridle attaches to, their height also makes a difference/pressure on the horse):

The Shank

A curb bit is a leverage bit, meaning that it multiplies the pressure applied by the rider. Unlike a snaffle bit, the curb rein can amplify the rein pressure several times over, depending on the length of the curb bit's shank.

The relation of the upper shank--the shank length from the mouthpiece to the cheekpiece rings-- and the lower shank--the shank length from the mouthpiece to the lowest rein ring, is important in the severity of the bit. A long lower shank in relation to the upper shank increases the leverage, and thus the pressure, on the curb groove and the bars of the mouth. A long upper shank in relation to the lower shank increases the pressure on the poll, but does not apply as much pressure on the bars of the mouth. Shank sizes vary from the Tom Thumb (2 inches long) to more than 5 inches, although most are less than 4 inches.

If the horse is properly gaited, the rider can ride and the horse STOPS when asked - slap a snaffle in it and call it a day!

btw - my TW does a rack
His running walk is not used much (I ride with stock horses so we walk, Gaite (trot) or Canter)​
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Have had 2 MFT in the past and have just 1 now. Rode the first two in a snaffle. When we started the last one I really didn't want to get in his mouth so we started him in a side pull. I am really pleased with how he has done with it. Love the ride on Fox Trotter.

My experience is that any horse can be ridden with a snaffle, or at the least a Pelham. I cringe whenever I see those horrible things a lot of people put in their horses mouth. I like your recommendation
It is funny... This gal got him from a Rescue and I rode him and I felt Tennesee walker... the flatfooted way of going... So I did some reading and found that a lot of the MFT have over 50 percent walker blood.. I guess that makes sense... The last time I rode a MFT it didn't have a "bump" to the gait... THis one a Walker.... Go figure that I would find that.. ha ha... If you knew me you would know what I mean.. I have ridden a lot of horses... only two MFT but the ride was so different from the TWH that it stuck out in my mind as one of the funnest rides ever... Besides an icelandic... I have never been partial to the Bump in the walker gait... (back injury) but I can "FEEL" it ... Anyone else out there have a similar experience? I wasn't aware the MFT had a running walk... but that explains it if they are a breed with lots of Walker in the background...

What happened to the breed standard that said that Walkers were the only breed to have the running walk.... (I guess I am showing my age here)?

Another question: Since there is so much Walker blood in the background.... Are the MFT shown on halter the a parked position for inspection??? and what about show gear?? What is the standard? Where can I go to look up current information on the MFT?
With my uncle's beloved FT he had, all they had was a simple curb bit, none of those LONG shanked bit.

I dont know if ALL FT can park, but really it is not necessary but for show. If he is willing to stand quietly, he will.

I love FT and when I was "lighter" I was able to ride Paso Finos. The FX can handle a heavy rider like me so it's doable!
This horse is taught to park... It is in his training... So I am still wondering why he would be trained to park??? Could he have been shown Walker or something??? He is said to have FT papers somewhere... We are currently researching. THere is no doubt this is a showhorse..
Good thing someone is adopting him. Sometimes papers will stay with the owner or owner would go ahead and give up the papers back to the registry. If you can get a hold of his previous owners, maybe you would get his papers.
The park is used in showing.

The only other reason I know of that people teach a horse to park is to make it easier on the rider to mount the horse....even though it puts a lot of stress on the horse to be mounted while being parked....but some people don't care as much about the hroses well being and will park them to mount them.

The breed association:
We ride our Peruvians in a bosal.
They are started in a snaffle, though. I don't think there is a bit you HAVE to use--unless maybe you're showing? But I would just suggest to use whatever you can that allows you to control the horse without it being over-bitted and getting hard-mouthed. Less is my opinion and training is how to get there.

Other than that--

And the:

Another good source is youtube. You can watch videos of those breeds moving and get an idea of their gaits...

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